I have a problem teaching my sons to keep their playroom and bedroom tidy consistently. No matter how many times I've tried showing them how to do it, they still won't do it on their own. If you experience the same problem with your juniors, maybe you'll be interested in my app pick for today: Tidy Kids.
A Family Board Game
Tidy Kids is not your typical app. Even though you can play it on your own, it works best when you play it with everyone in your family. The app allows up to four players, and works best when you use it in a room that you want to tidy up.
When you start the app, you will see a short tutorial on how to play the clean up game. First, you need to put the iPad on a table or on the floor, as you would play a board game. Then, players need to sit on four sides of the iPad. You don't need to line everyone up to face the same direction, because the app will adjust to the correct orientation on each player's turn.
Once everyone is ready, each player chooses one out of six animal character as their token: butterfly, tiger, elephant, rabbit, baby dragon, and panda. The active player gets to spin a wheel, on which there are 16 icons representing activities that she must perform. For example, if the wheel stops at the teddy bear icon, you need to tidy something soft. If the wheel stops at a pair of yellow ballet shoes, you need to tidy up while walking on tippy toes.
As you tidy up, music will play for about 40 seconds. You need to complete your work before the music ends to get a star as your reward. If you can complete your work faster, you might even get two stars.
You can continue to play for as long as you like. When you want to end the game, tap on the red achievement button. The app will rank all players based on the number of stars they collect.
Parents Need to Know
Tidy Kids encourages you to play with as many people as possible, because keeping the house tidy is everyone's responsibility. If you play it enough times with your juniors and decide to keep the app in your iPad, you may get a nice surprise when they ask you to play and tidy up the room with them.
The app is not about playing on the iPad, rather it's about playing in real life. In fact, teachers can also use Tidy Kids in a classroom setting.
In addition to teaching juniors to understand where things belong and how to take care of them, Tidy Kids also teaches juniors how to identify objects based on their characteristics. For example, if your spin lands on a red paste or a blue paint, the app asks you to clean up things that are red or blue. And if the wheel lands on a yellow square, you are asked to tidy up square things instead.
Things I Like
I like the way Tidy Kids adjusts its orientation to fit the active player's position relative to the iPad. It stays consistent with its playing instruction where you need to leave the iPad on a table or on the floor. Instead of passing the iPad around, the app cleverly rotates itself. Everything is rotated, including the buttons, the texts, and the way the characters are displayed.
Tidy Kids also covers almost everything that you might want to clean up. Landing on the jigsaw puzzle, for example, will ask juniors to find things in pairs or things that are made for one another. The orange trumpet icon represents noisy things, whereas the ladybug icon represents all small things.
You can also have fun with wacky movements. For example, the footsteps icon asks you to walk backwards as you grab things and put them where they belong. The bird icon asks you to flap your hands as you clean up. You can even extend the game to let your juniors count as they grab various objects.
Tidy Kids is an excellent clean up games that would stay installed on both my iPads for quite a long time, or at least until I can get my sons to clean up on their own after they finish playing. While it takes more time to clean up the room with Tidy Kids, it's more fun and engaging for the kids. Keep in mind that it's not an app that you just hand over to your kids. This time, you need to get your hands dirty and show the kids how to clean up their rooms.
Get Tidy Kids on the App Store.